28. July 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction

Dragon Spear by Jessica Day George, read by Angie, on 07/26/2014

Creel and Luka are engaged to be married and the dragons are safely living in the Far Isles. Creel is working hard on her wedding dress, but wants to visit Shardas and Velika before she gets married. While they are visiting Velika is kidnapped and spirited away to a far off land. Creel, Luka, Shardas and the others follow them to try to get Velika back. She has been kidnapped by rogue dragons who are failing and believe they need a queen to make them better. Problems arise because Velika is so close to giving birth to her clutch of eggs. Then the volcano blows and things go from difficult to impossible. 

I loved this conclusion to the Dragon Slippers trilogy. We get even more information on the dragons and we get to visit yet another exotic locale. I really enjoyed seeing Creel’s aunt again; it added a lot of comic relief to a somewhat dark book. I also really had to laugh at the saga of the wedding dress. This series just reinforced the fact that Jessica Day George is one of my favorite authors. It was fun and entertaining.

28. July 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction

Dragon Flight by Jessica Day George, read by Angie, on 07/18/2014

It has been a year after the events of Dragon Slippers. Creel has become a famous dressmaker and is still friends with the dragons and Prince Luka. They find out that dragons are being trained in a neighboring country and invasion is imminent. Creel and her friends and dragons must try to figure out a way to free the captive dragons and stop the war. Turns out dragons are being bred for war and there are thousands to save. It also turns out that the the country is under the control of a rogue dragon who wants revenge on the King of the Dragons Shardas. 

Yet another fun book by Jessica Day George. I liked the continuation of the Creel story. I also really enjoyed getting to know more dragons and finding out more about their culture. Creel is again the heroine of the Dragon War with the help of her friends. She also gets a little closer to Prince Luka, who she has a big crush on.

28. July 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction

Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George, read by Angie, on 07/25/2014

Creel has been sacrificed to a dragon by her aunt. Since her parents died she is just an extra mouth to feed for her impoverished family. Creel goes into the dragon’s lair, but the dragon doesn’t want her. So he gives her a pair of blue slippers from his hoard (not gold) and sends her on her way. Instead of heading back to her family, she takes off for the capital city. There she makes friends with another dragon and a prince of the realm. She finds a job in a dress shop because of her amazing embroidery work. She also runs afoul of the princess-to-be who is going to marry the older prince. The princess turns out be evil and steals Creel’s slippers. Turns out the slippers are dragon slippers and control dragons. War comes to the realm and it is up to Creel to figure out how to stop the evil princess.

I am a huge fan of Jessica Day George and this series is another winner. While it might not be quite as charming as the Castle Gower series, it is still pretty awesome. I loved Creel as the spunky, talented heroine. I also really loved the dragons. They all have unique personalities and I loved the different things they hoarded like shoes and dogs and stained glass. 

28. July 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Angie, Fantasy, Fiction, Teen Books

Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce, read by Angie, on 07/27/2014

Battle Magic is the story of Briar, Rosethorn and Evvy in Yanjing. The events that are alluded to in The Will of the Empress are explained here. They become involved in a war between countries; fighting on the side of the God-King of Gyongxe. They are forced to become battle mages and use their ambient magic to help win the war. 

It has been a while since I read The Will of the Empress and Melting Stones (the two previous books in this series), but I do remember that Briar is portrayed as suffering from horrible PTSD because of the things he was forced to do in this war. He is so traumatized that he can’t sleep alone and has flashbacks and nightmares. Imagine my surprise on reading this book to find nothing that truly traumatizes him, except maybe thinking Evvy is dead. I was happy to return to the Circle world even though I have always enjoyed Pierce’s Tortall books more. However, I am not sure this book lives up to her others. For one, the narration skips around a lot. I am fine with multiple narrators because it gives the story more depth, but the narrators not only switch between chapters but within them as well. It ads a level of confusion that was unnecessary. The other thing that was surprising was that there was really no character growth for Briar, Rosethorn or Evvy. They all seemed exactly like the characters they have been in the previous books. The secondary characters also seemed to fade together and no one is a real standout. 

That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy reading this book. I did and stayed up way too late reading it. I liked learning more about what Briar and Rosethorn have been up to. However, I wasn’t impressed with the story or the battles really. The way it played out the group was essential to winning the war. Sure there were soldiers fighting and even some other mages, but Briar and Rosethorn and Evvy’s magic was the deciding factor, because they are so powerful and no one knows how to combat their ambient magic. Seemed a little to perfect to me. 

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley. 

22. July 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Teen Books · Tags:

Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington, read by Kira, on 07/14/2014

livfor  Liv is a scholarship student at a rich school. You know that Liv has been killed at the start of this novel.  The question is why did she die, and why have there been so many mysterious deaths in the past.  This was a fun read, not particularly deep, but I like ghost characters.  The ending of the book leaves the possibility of sequel, but this probably won’t happen.Huntingdon-College-CC-Spyder-Monkey-e1351559840834The_Haunted_Mansion

21. July 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: Brian, Fantasy, Fiction

Angelic by Kelley Armstrong, read by Brian, on 07/19/2014

angelicKelley Armstrong is the author of the popular Otherworld series.  She likes to write short stories between her novellas.  Angelic is about Eve Levine a half-demon warrior who is used by the Fates to fight evil.  In her latest battle, Eve must battle the djinn, demons who do not have leader and have gone rogue.

 

 

14. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction

Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull, read by Angie, on 07/12/2014

Sky Raiders is the first in a new series by Brandon Mull. Cole and his friends visit a spooky haunted house on Halloween and are kidnapped by people from another world. Cole follows the kidnappers to the Outskirts where he too is caught. They are all slaves off to be sold to whoever wants them. Cole is bought by the Sky Raiders, a group that raids the floating castles for whatever treasure they might hold. Cole befriends Mira and they develop a plan to escape. Mira is more than she seems and needs to leave Skyhold before the Grand Shaper finds her. Cole, Mira, Jace and Twitch make their escape but are pursued by hundreds of soldiers. They make their way across this strange country to fight the Carnag and make Mira whole again.

This was a fun book. I thought Cole was a really interesting character full of loyalty for his friends and a daring risk-taker and hero. I can see how this series will be shaped with each book dealing with each of the princesses and each of the five kingdoms. This is a fascinating world Mull has created full of magic and mystery and intrigue. I think the series will be one kids will really enjoy. It is fast-paced, filled with interesting kids and a fabulous adventure.

10. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Brian, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Short Stories

Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman, read by Brian, on 07/10/2014

neilNeil Gaiman is a wonderful writer who can write any genre.  Smoke and Mirrors is a collection of his short stories.  The stories range from science fiction to horror to normal life.  I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good read.

 

07. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fantasy, Fiction, Teen Books

The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal, read by Angie, on 07/06/2014

Nalia has been brought up believing she is the future queen of Thordaval. After she turns 16 she is informed that she is not in fact the princess, but an imposter who replaced the princess because of a horrible prophecy. So Nalia, now Sinda, is unceremoniously sent to the country to live with an aunt she has never met. She has to leave everything she has known and loved behind to start a life she is not prepared for. Her aunt tries to teach her dyeing, but Sinda has no talent for it. She does find out that she has magic however. The spell that made her into the princess repressed her magical abilities. She heads back to the capital to learn how to control her magic. Sinda is unable to get into the wizard college because she is not a member of the nobility, but does find a witch willing to teach her. While in the capital Sinda uncovers a plot against the throne. It seems the princess prophecy might be more than it seems and the new princess might not be the true princess. Sinda has to figure out who is behind the plot and why before things go too far. 

I really enjoyed this story. I actually read it in one gulp for the most part. I like the fact that it is a stand alone novel and I don’t have to wait years to find out how the story plays out which is so very rare these days. I thought Sinda was fascinating. She is really thrust into situations that are completely different from what she is used to all without warning. She does fairly well dealing with them, but like anyone there are issues. She pushes away her best friend Kiernan and trusts new friends who don’t deserve her trust. But she is determined to solve the mystery and she is willing to go to any lengths to do it. I would definitely recommend this one.

03. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Lisa

The Princess Tales by Gail Carson Levine , read by Lisa, on 06/10/2014

Once upon a time…A kind sister and a cruel one. A charming prince. A spiteful fairy. A hundred-year snooze. A pea under a pile of mattresses. A kiss.

All the familiar ingredients, but why is the punished sister happy? Where did that extra prince come from, and what does a flock of balding sheep or a fleck of tuna in a chocolate cake have to do with anything?

Gail Carson Levine has waved her magic wand over three well-known fairy tales, and presto! They are transformed — and sparklingly funny-in these delightful retellings:

The Fairy’s Mistake
The Princess Test
Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep

Happily ever after has never been so hilarious!

03. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Lisa, Teen Books

Tales From Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan, read by Lisa, on 06/05/2014

Breathtakingly illustrated and hauntingly written, Tales from Outer Suburbia is by turns hilarious and poignant, perceptive and goofy. Through a series of captivating and sophisticated illustrated stories, Tan explores the precious strangeness of our existence. He gives us a portrait of modern suburban existence filtered through a wickedly Monty Pythonesque lens. Whether it’s discovering that the world really does stop at the end of the city’s map book, or a family’s lesson in tolerance through an alien cultural exchange student, Tan’s deft, sweet social satire brings us face-to-face with the humor and absurdity of modern life.

01. July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction · Tags:

Nightingale's Nest by Nikki Loftin, read by Angie, on 06/30/2014

Little John is working with his father trimming trees for Mr. King during the summer. One day he hears the most amazing music. He discovers it is a little girl who sounds like a magical bird. She is an orphan living with Mrs. Cutlin whose property borders Mr. King’s. Gayle is just like a little bird, more comfortable in the nest she built in the tree than on the ground. Over the next few days Little John and Gayle become very close. Little John needs something good in his life. His family is not the same since the death of his little sister. His dad is drinking a lot and spending their rent money on booze. His mom still talks to the little sister Raelynn as if she is still alive. They are about to be evicted and have no where else to go. So when Mr. King offers John $500 to bring Gayle to his house and let him record her voice, John accepts. Mr. King is a bit creepy but John doesn’t think he would actually hurt Gayle. However, after he records her Gayle acts as if she has been wounded. She claims Mr. King stole her voice. There are a series of unfortunate events that leads to a horrible accident and the loss of the rent money. Little John has to make things right with his family and with Gayle.

I am still not sure what I think about this book. It was a very engaging story and one I really didn’t want to put down. However, it is based on a fairy tale I am unfamiliar with, which made the story a little more difficult to understand. Magical realism is also not my favorite genre. With that being said I think it is a magical little book that will definitely find fans.

24. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Tammy · Tags: , ,

Skin Game by Jim Butcher, read by Tammy, on 06/22/2014

skin gameOur intrepid hero, Harry Dresden, wizard of the White Council, Winter Knight of Mab’s court and former private detective in Chicago returns for another adventure. Mab promises his services to one of Harry’s arch-enemies to fulfill a promise so Harry has no choice but to go along and help him with a heist. Not just any heist. A holy relic from the vault of an ancient god, of course. Butters, Murphy and Michael all feature prominently in this tale too.

 

24. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Short Stories, Tammy · Tags: ,

Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman, read by Tammy, on 06/23/2014

smoke and mirrorsA collection of magical, mystical short stories by a master of fantasy, Neil Gaiman. Explore a world hidden by smoke and darkness. Don’t plan on sleeping well right after reading this beautiful but haunting collection.

 

24. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Cats, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Tammy

The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson, read by Tammy, on 06/20/2014

familiarsThe first book in a fun new children’s series. Aldwyn the cat runs into an alley to save his life and ends up ducking into an unusual pet store. All the animals in the store have magical abilities. They are called Familiars and the human companions are Loyals. Aldwyn decides to play along and pretend he has abilities to make a clean escape and is chosen by Jack, a young wizard.To keep up the ruse and have his meals provided, Aldwyn must convince the other familiars, a blue jay named Skylar and a tree frog named Gilbert that he is a powerful familiar too.

Then Jack and the other two young wizards in training are captured and the familiars set out to rescue them. Humor and a grand adventure ensue.

 

24. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Tammy · Tags:

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, read by Tammy, on 06/17/2014

neverwhereHave you ever wondered what’s beneath your city streets? Some cities have miles of tunnels and passages beneath them. Some built for maintenance others ruins of older buildings streets that have been built over with time.

In this story Richard Mayhew’s simple act of kindness sends him into a fantastical city beneath the city of London. A city of monsters, angels, and knights awaits him.

23. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Tammy · Tags:

Stardust by Neil Gamain, read by Tammy, on 06/12/2014

stardustA boy who is half mortal half/fairy leaves his Victorian-English village on a search for a fallen star. The star’s path leads him into a magical realm. The star turns out to be much more than just an ordinary star and leads him into adventures with unicorns, elf-lords and ships that can sail in the sky and many more fantastical adventures.

23. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal, Tammy, Teen Books

Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, read by Tammy, on 06/04/2014

beautifulThe final book in the Caster Chronicles. Find out how Ethan and Lena’s story ends and what has become of the town of Gatlin and Amma after Ethan’s great sacrifice in book three.

19. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Mystery, Teen Books · Tags:

Shadows by Robin McKinley, read by Kira, on 06/01/2014

shadows tp edot warp realiztMaggie lives in a world being torn apart by cohesion breaks – aka cobeys, which are breaks in reality, where chunks of space are missing.  Magic has been outlawed in the Neworld where she lives, in order to cut down on the number of cobeys, which seem attracted to magic.  Her own family has had there genes chopped, so that magic doesn’t become active.  Then Maggie’s Mom remarries, and Maggie knows that there is something wrong with her new step-dad, (who’s come from the OldWorld where magic is still practices) – he seems to be surrounded by shadows.  Then all of a sudden some huge cobeys appear right where Maggie lives.  The police come out, and start hauling people away.  Maggie and her friends need to figure out what is happening and how they can stop the cobeys.  Like most of McKinley’s books this title could easily be continued in a series, but she doesn’t seem to pursue the potential series.

17. June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction

Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George, read by Angie, on 06/16/2014

I think Jessica Day George could be one of my favorite authors. For sure, the Castle Glower series is a must read for me. I never tire of reading about the adventures of Celie and her family. Thursdays with the Crown picks up right were Wednesdays in the Tower left off. Celie and the rest of the group have been transported to Glorious Arkower along with a couple of towers from The Castle. Right away they discover griffins, specifically the parents of Rufus, Celie’s griffin. They are also introduced to two different wizards with opposing views on who created The Castle, who poisoned the water in Arkower, and basically who is the evil one and who is the good one. Celie and crew must decide who to trust and figure out how to get back to Sleyne. This is yet another fabulous adventure in the Castle Glower series. I love the introduction of the griffins and all the history we learn about Castle Glower and Celie’s family. I really can’t wait for the next adventure for this fun series. 

Thank you to Netgalley for letting me read this book before it comes out.